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Two Worlds of Environmentalism?

Empirical Analyses on the Complex Relationship between Postmaterialism, National Wealth, and Environmental Concern

Jochen Mayerl and Henning Best


This article examines cross-cultural differences in the value cluster of environmentalism and postmaterialism. Based on an extension of Ronald Inglehart’s “objective problems–subjective values” hypothesis, we posit different sources of postmaterialism and environmental concern in wealthy versus poor countries. We test hypotheses on the relationship between national wealth, postmaterialist values, and environmental concern using empirical data from the World Values Survey waves 5 and 6 and the International Social Survey Program 2010. Using multilevel regression models with cross-level interaction terms and country fixed effects, we show that the effect of postmaterialism on environmental concern is indeed moderated by national wealth: whereas there is a weak or even no effect in poorer countries, the relationship is substantial in wealthy countries. Therefore, we argue that individual postmaterialist values and environmental concern do in fact form a coherent structure in wealthy countries, but should be considered as isolated constructs in poorer countries.

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Changing Patterns of Allotment Gardening in the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Attila Tóth, Barbora Duží, Jan Vávra, Ján Supuka, Mária Bihuňová, Denisa Halajová, Stanislav Martinát, and Eva Nováková


Allotment gardens have played a significant role in Czech and Slovak society for decades, building upon a rich history of gardening. This article elaborates on Czech and Slovak allotments in the European context and identifies their core functions, services, and benefits. We provide a thorough historical review of allotments in this region, reaching back to the eighteenth century to trace significant periods and historic events that shaped society in general and urban gardening in particular. We analyze the development of allotments until and after 1989 and illustrate key aspects of their present situation using case studies and examples. The article provides a complex historical narrative as a good basis for discussions on contemporary trends, challenges, and visions for the future of urban allotment gardening in both countries.

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Food Movement between Autonomy and Coproduction of Public Policies

Lessons from Madrid

Marian Simon-Rojo, Inés Morales Bernardos, and Jon Sanz Landaluze


In the aftermath of the economic crisis, the food geography in the city of Madrid is being transformed. The urban unemployed began to engage in agriculture in periurban areas, creating new alliances between producers and consumers. The alternative food movement organized on the fringe gave way to agroecological civic platforms that are highly assertive, and a dialogue with political institutions has opened. A key moment in the advance of this proactive attitude came about in the municipal elections of May 2015. Activists ascended to positions of political power, the backdrop of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact created an opportunity for the food movement to move from protest to program, and public policies were permeated by agroecological principles.

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From Urban Agriculture to Urban Food

Food System Analysis Based on Interaction Between Research, Policy, and Society

Heidrun Moschitz, Jan Landert, Christian Schader, and Rebekka Frick


Urban agriculture is embedded in an urban food system, and its full potential can only be understood by looking into the dynamics of the system. Involving a variety of actors from civil society, policy, and the market, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the food system of the city of Basel, Switzerland, including policy and actor analysis, analysis of perceptions on urban agriculture, food flow analysis, and a sustainability assessment. The article presents the results of these analyses and discusses how research can contribute to the societal debate on food systems transformation. We particularly reflect on how the research project became a boundary object in a dynamic process to develop new ideas and activities, as well as to create a space for future debates in the city’s food system.

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The Incredible Edible Movement

People Power, Adaptation, and Challenges in Rennes (France) and Montreal (Canada)

Giulia Giacchè and Lya Porto


All over the world, different forms of urban food gardens (family gardens, school gardens, community gardens, allotment gardens, and so on) are flourishing. These initiatives vary in terms of space, actors, functions, and forms of organization. This article explores community garden typologies, focusing on Incredible Edible (IE) initiatives. We propose a theoretical discussion of IE initiatives and the differential adaptation of this model in contrasting contexts, specifically the city of Rennes, in France, and the city of Montreal, in Canada. The investigation of IE in both case studies is predicated on a qualitative methodological approach. A key conclusion is that the IE movement survives largely because of the input of volunteers. However, its longer-term sustainability requires resources and investment from municipal institutions if a real transition to edible cities is to be attained.

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Civil Society and Urban Agriculture in Europe

Mary P. Corcoran and Joëlle Salomon Cavin


This special issue comprises articles by social and environmental scientists, most of whom participated in a working group on governance models and policy contexts of the COST Action TD1106 Urban Agriculture Europe during the period 2012–2016. All have a particular interest in the potentialities of urban agriculture as mediated through civil society actors to contribute to, shape, and transform urban policies in the intersecting fields of land use and access; food and urban ecosystems; education and environment; and history, heritage, and cultural practice. The collaborative, interdisciplinary, and bottom-up character of the contributions broadens and deepens our knowledge of urban agricultural practice across Europe.

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The Modus Operandi of Urban Agriculture Initiatives

Toward a Conceptual Framework

Charlotte Prové, Denise Kemper, and Salma Loudiyi


Urban agriculture (UA) has turned into a diverse and complex movement. Important challenges will be to set accurate expectations by civil society in relation to UA development, and to find ways to discuss UA in governance and collaboration networks from an aggregate point of view. However, analytical tools that allow comprehensive study of UA initiatives (UAIs) are absent. This article elaborates on a conceptual framework from the COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe (Prové et al. 2015) and evaluates findings that result from applying the framework to four UAIs. We found that, analytically, the framework generates in-depth information on UAIs, and argue that it can be a useful tool in networks that are responsible for collaboration, support, or governance within the UA movement. We also discuss its usability issues and discuss future research.

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The Politics of Greening the City

The Case of the Bostan of Kuzguncuk, Istanbul

Alice Genoud


The neighborhood of Kuzguncuk in Istanbul has been the theater of a 20-year struggle between the authorities and the local population concerning a green area present in the center of the district. This struggle was interesting as it concerned visions of green areas and more globally of society. The inhabitants wanted to have an open green and social area, whereas the centralized authority wanted to use this land for a profitable building project, without any consultation of the neighborhood. In 2015, a park was inaugurated on this land, the result of a compromise between political authorities and inhabitants of Kuzguncuk. Because of this compromise, this is a unique case, and it will be interesting to understand how different visions of green areas and societal values brought about a project such as that of Kuzguncuk.

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Vegetables and Social Relations in Norway and the Netherlands

A Comparative Analysis of Urban Allotment Gardeners

Esther J. Veen and Sebastian Eiter


This article aims to explore differences in motivation for and actual use of allotment gardens. Results from questionnaire surveys and semistructured interviews in two Norwegian and one Dutch garden show that growing vegetables and consuming the harvest is a fundamental part of gardening. The same is true for the social element—meeting and talking to other gardeners, and feeling as part of a community. Although gardeners with different socioeconomic backgrounds experience gardening to some extent similarly, access to an allotment seems more important for gardeners with disadvantaged personal backgrounds: both their diets and their social networks rely more on, and benefit more from, their allotments. This underlines the importance of providing easy access to gardening opportunities for all urban residents, and disadvantaged groups in particular. Public officers and policy makers should consider this when deciding upon new gardening sites or public investments in urban food gardens.

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Building “Natural” Beauty: Drought and the Shifting Aesthetics of Nature in Santa Barbara, California

Andrew McCumber


This article analyzes the tension between the built and intrinsic elements that constitute Santa Barbara, California, as a place, by investigating two related questions: How is Santa Barbarans’ sense of place impacted by citywide cultural preferences for a specific plant aesthetic? and How have recent drought conditions affected that plant aesthetic, and its population’s cultural relationship to nature and the environment? The analysis focuses primarily on two key informant interviews, with Madeline Ward, the city’s water conservation coordinator, and Timothy Downey, the city arborist, and is further supported by ethnographic field notes. I argue that the California drought has brought parallel changes to both the city’s physical appearance and its residents’ aesthetic preferences regarding plants. This has further prompted changes to popular conceptions of Santa Barbara as a place, stemming from residents’ desire for an aesthetic that is better in tune with the ecological conditions of the area.